Arizona’s first African American mayor, former Chandler Mayor Coy Payne, has died

Former Chandler Mayor Coy Payne, the first African American mayor in Chandler and in Arizona, has died. He was 90.

Payne died on Sunday, according to a Facebook post from a family member announcing his death.

He served on the Chandler City Council from 1982 to 1990 and as mayor from 1990 to 1994.

A longtime Chandler resident and community activist, Payne helped create the city’s housing authority and oversaw the expansion of parks and recreation programs.

He was known for his roles as a consensus-builder and facilitator and helped lead the city as it underwent unprecedented growth in population and businesses.

Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke described Payne as an integral part of the community, who served as a mentor to many during his decades of public service and inspired future leaders and politicians.

“As the first African American mayor in Chandler and in the state of Arizona, Coy laid the foundation for future mayors to lead with an innovative spirit,” Hartke said. “Mayor Payne was well-loved and he will be forever remembered as an integral and inspiring part of our city’s history.”

A visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 20 at Bueler Mortuary, 14 W. Hulet Drive in Chandler. Services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Dec. 23 at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave.

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